Big 12 South has two unbeatens

Friday, October 29th 2004, 9:47 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ Oklahoma and Texas A&M are trying to stay undefeated in the Big 12 South before their showdown the first weekend of November.

The No. 2 Sooners (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) and No. 16 Aggies (6-1, 4-0) both have road games against instate rivals Saturday. Oklahoma is at No. 20 Oklahoma State and Texas A&M goes to Baylor, which has the longest Big 12 losing streak.

Meanwhile in the North, only one team will emerge from October with a winning record in the conference.

North co-leaders Missouri and Nebraska _ both 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the league _ play Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. The other four division teams already have three losses each going into Week 5 of the league.

In the other Big 12 games this weekend, No. 8 Texas (6-1, 3-1) goes to Colorado (4-3, 1-3); Texas Tech (4-3, 2-2) is at Kansas State (3-4, 1-3); and Kansas (3-4, 1-3) plays at Iowa State (3-4, 1-3).

It's Bedlam Week in Oklahoma.

``We need to take another step in the direction of the Big 12 South title, and all of us are getting after that,'' said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who said he's not interested in returning to Florida, where he was defensive coordinator, to be the next head coach.

While the Sooners try to stay undefeated, Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1) has plenty of its own motivation. The Cowboys try to stay in contention in the South and make up for last year's 52-9 loss that followed consecutive wins in the series.

``Certainly, championships are why we play,'' Cowboys coach Les Miles said. ``As you look at your opponent, you are going to be motivated to defeat that team. Oklahoma has plenty of motivation. Our kids understand that.''

The instate matchup of Top 20 teams features two of the nation's top running backs.

Oklahoma State's Vernand Morency is second in the Big 12, and third nationally, with 164.7 yards per game. Oklahoma freshman Adrian Peterson has seven straight 100-yard games, joining Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk as the fastest NCAA players ever to 1,000 yards, and is third in the league with 146.1 yards per game.

Texas A&M, which has won six straight games, shouldn't have much problem staying undefeated in the conference.

The Aggies haven't lost to Baylor (2-5, 0-4) since 1985. Texas A&M won 73-10 last year to increase its series advantage to 62-29-9 _ its most wins against any opponent.

Still, coach Dennis Franchione wants to make sure his team isn't thinking about Oklahoma.

``We have to be able to kind of insulate ourselves somewhat from those kinds of conversation points the best we can and keep our focus,'' Franchione said. ``That's one of the issues I talked about this week with our team.''

Baylor's Big 12 losing streak is at 11 games after last week's last-minute loss to Iowa State. And the Bears are without starting quarterback Dane King, who has a broken bone in his right (non-throwing) hand.

But just imagine if Baylor pulls off one of the biggest upsets in school history, and Oklahoma State and Texas also win Saturday. There would be a four-way tie atop the South Division with three games left.

Texas plays Colorado for the first time since the 2001 Big 12 championship game, which the Buffaloes won 39-37.

Nebraska has been outscored 115-31 its last two games, yet the Cornhuskers can take over the North lead.

``I always look at the positive side of things, and I'm really encouraged that our players are excited,'' Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. ``When you happen to be in the adverse situation we're in right now, it's tough. It's disappointing, and it's embarrassing. ... We feel gutted in so many respects.''

The Cornhuskers had won 24 straight over Missouri until last year. But the Tigers haven't won in Lincoln since 1978 _ their last win in the 98-game series before last season.

Kansas State finally got a Big 12 win by beating Nebraska 45-21 last week, and now is home against Big 12 scoring leader Texas Tech (37 points a game).

Iowa State is home against Kansas after finally ending its 13-game conference losing streak.